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Whistler's Environmental Commitment

Whistler's Environmental Commitment

Beautiful mountain vistas, ancient forests, crystal clear lakes and rivers, and fresh, clean air. Much of what makes Whistler such a unique and memorable destination lies in its awe-inspiring and pristine natural surroundings. As such, the Whistler community cares deeply for the environment and strives to preserve the area's natural beauty by taking meaningful and innovative steps towards the resort's vision of sustainability.

As a visitor to Whistler, you may notice many community groups, volunteer organizations and associations that are actively working to educate the public and protect the wildlife and land that we are here to enjoy. Check out our Events listings for local outings, lecture series and fundraisers. Everyone is always welcome to attend even if you are here just for a weekend.

Whistler2020

Whistler2020 is the community's shared vision and plan for continued success to the year 2020 - and an ambitious step on the longer journey to a sustainable future. Rooted in Whistler's values and a science-based approach to sustainability, Whistler2020 is long-term, comprehensive, community-developed, community-implemented and action-focused.

Lower Cheakamus Neighbourhood District Energy System

An in-progress project that will see a district energy system employ 'waste' energy from Whistler's wastewater treatment plant to meet the space and hot water needs of all of the dwellings in the new Lower Cheakamus neighbourhood. Current estimates of potential greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions versus typical construction are 60 to 70 per cent.

Whistler Green

A 'green' building standard and associated checklist has been developed in Whistler, with energy efficiency standing as a cornerstone. Whistler Green homes will set a new standard for residential construction and serve as a model for the community.

Partners For Climate Protection Program

Whistler was recognized as an environmental leader in the country, as the first community in Canada to have completed the final milestone in the Partners for Climate Protection Program (PCP) developed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.

Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE)

AWARE is a membership organization whose mandate is to improve the quality of life by protecting Whistler's natural heritage. Each summer, AWARE presents the Whistler Environmental Business (WEB) Awards to highlight and encourage local leaders in environmental stewardship and promote sustainable business practices.

Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA)

WORCA is dedicated to maintaining Whistler's bike trails and promote sustainable trail building. They sponsor trail maintenance programs and educate riders on the importance of preserving and maintaining the trails while riding.

Whistler Museum & Archives

The Whistler Museum takes an active role in the cultural and natural stewardship of Whistler and the surrounding area.

The Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project

Open in late fall 2009 and producing power for Christmas, Whistler Blackcomb's brand new hydro electric initiative, The Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project, will generate 33 gigawatt hours of electricity every year - enough electricity to power the entire resort's operations, including over 300 snow guns, 38 ski lifts and 17 restaurants among other facilities.

As an organization, Tourism Whistler strives to conduct its business in a socially responsible manner. While no formal organizational corporate social responsibility policy yet exists, business operations are always undertaken with consideration to ‘doing the right thing’, whether that involves acting fairly in relationships with business partners, setting human resource policy that provides for a safe, productive work environment, engaging in responsible corporate governance or assuming responsibility for environmental stewardship.

At the heart of Tourism Whistler’s social conscience is its employees. Many of the corporate social responsibility initiatives undertaken by the organization are the result of the grassroots efforts and support of staff. Employees at Tourism Whistler embrace their personal roles in assisting the organization to be socially responsible and accountable.

In the pursuit of living a philosophy of social responsibility, Tourism Whistler and its employees give consideration to the following areas, and make efforts to implement initiatives that address and promote good corporate citizenship.

Enhanced Social Awareness, Support and Engagement

Recognizing a responsibility to their fellow man, employees engage in numerous events and programs to promote social awareness and provide assistance to various charities and community services such as the Whistler Food Bank, Coats for Kids program, BC Children’s Hospital, and other charitable organizations. Staff members also sponsor a child in Zambia through Plan Canada.

As an organization, Tourism Whistler understands that Whistler’s success is only possible through the cooperation of resort partners. It actively participates in the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s ‘Whistler 2020’ process, and endorses the Whistler Centre for Sustainability. Staff members are encouraged to participate in community organizations both as volunteers and as Board members, and Tourism Whistler provides directors to both the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and One Whistler.

Environmental Stewardship

The act of bringing visitors long distances to enjoy the resort comes with an environmental price tag. Recognizing this, within the organization and the resort, Tourism Whistler is committed to making whatever efforts possible to promote and engage in responsible environmental stewardship. To this end, Tourism Whistler pursues initiatives to reduce green house gases, waste, paper and ink consumption, and water consumption. Similarly, Tourism Whistler makes efforts to minimize the use of pesticides and herbicides in its golf operations, and utilizes, wherever possible, non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning supplies and materials in maintaining the Whistler Conference Centre.

Waste Reduction

All of Tourism Whistler’s operations participate in active waste reduction programs, which include recycling of plastic, paper, cardboard, recyclable containers and compost. Initiatives, such as ‘No Garbage Month’ are periodically undertaken to encourage waste reduction and increase awareness around recycling. Whistler Conference Centre clients are educated on our waste reduction initiatives, and are also requested to participate in recycling.

Paper and Ink Reduction

As a marketing organization, Tourism Whistler is guilty of significant use of paper and ink in the production of brochures, maps and other printed marketing pieces. Over the last several years, production of printed material has consistently decreased, with greater and greater reliance being placed on electronic media. Where printed materials are still produced, only FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified paper and plant-based inks are used.

Similarly, in Tourism Whistler’s administrative operations, FSC paper is used, and many of the previously paper-heavy communications, such as invoicing , press and Member releases have been changed to electronic communication where possible. As a Member, you will note the Annual Report is now available only online, and the previous mail-in voting system has been replaced by an online voting program. These two initiatives alone have saved the organization thousand of dollars annually.

Water Consumption

Probably the largest consumer of water in Tourism Whistler’s business operations is the Whistler Golf Club. In 2007, a new, computerized irrigation system was installed on the course, which resulted in a 30% reduction in water consumption. The water used for irrigation of the course comes from a well on the course, hence is not treated prior to being used, saving the use of additional water treatment chemicals.

In much of the Whistler Conference Centre, low-flow fixtures and toilets, as well as waterless urinals have been installed to reduce water consumption.

Equitable Human Resources Practices

Tourism Whistler strives to meet and exceed all labour standards, and to provide a safe and fair work environment. It maintains human resource policies on topics such as work place safety, code of conduct, harassment and discrimination, and whistle blowing. Through a constantly up-dated employee handbook, regularly scheduled staff meetings, and an online employee intranet, staff are communicated with and encouraged to provide feedback on the organization’s business activities. Tourism Whistler supports an active health and safety committee, an employee social activities committee, and, as mentioned above, a committee dedicated to social and environmental responsibility.

Corporate Governance

Honesty, integrity and transparency are the corporate values that have been identified by the Tourism Whistler Board of Directors. The Board endeavours to engage in best practices for corporate governance, including working by a standard, regularly updated manual and code of conduct and participating in periodic governance training. Three committees of the Board, Human Resources and Compensation, Audit and Finance, and Governance and Nominations, meet regularly to ensure appropriate corporate oversight and responsible governance.

If you would like to be a part of Whistler's efforts to minimize its environmental footprint, please consider some of these simple ideas when visiting the resort:

Conserve Energy

When you leave your hotel room, turn off the air conditioning or heat, lights, TV and radio. Close the drapes.

Conserve Water

Participate in hotel linen programs, or let the hotel know that it's not necessary to change your sheets and towels every day.

Park the Car

Whistler Village is pedestrian only, with restaurants, shops, hotels, ski lifts and other amenities located within walking distance. Other neighborhoods, lakes and beaches are all connected by the Valley Trail and buses. You can choose to walk, hire a bike or use public transportation.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Take only the brochures or maps necessary. Return others to the brochure stand. Participate in recycling programs by placing recyclables in appropriate bins. Use a reusable shopping bag, coffee cup and waterbottle. If you don't have the items, buy them here as a souvenir!

Tread Lightly

Stay on established trails when hiking to avoid disturbing plants and wildlife, and remember to take garbage with you when you leave.

Cross Country Skiing Callaghan Valley

Want to Appreciate Nature?
Get Out There

There is no better way to appreciate our world than by getting out and experiencing it first hand. Here's a selction of ways to do that.

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Whistler Celebrates
With Environmental Events

From Earth Hour to BioBlitz and community clean-up days - find an environmental event happening in Whistler this year.

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